Agenda and minutes

Environment and Community Engagement Scrutiny Commission - Monday 18 July 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: 160 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2QH

Contact: Julie Timbrell 

No. Item



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    To receive any apologies for absence.


    Councillor Graham Neale sent apologies.


Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent

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    In special circumstances, an item of business may be added to an agenda within five clear working days of the meeting.


    There were none.


Disclosure of Interests and Dispensations

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    Members to declare any interests and dispensations in respect of any item of business to be considered at this meeting.


    There were none.



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    To note the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2022.

    Supporting documents:


    The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2022 were noted.



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    Alper Muduroglu, MD of Peddle My Wheels, will present the OurBike scheme.  An email and supporting documents are attached. This item is part of a proposed review on Sustainable Freight.

    Supporting documents:


    Alper Muduroglu, MD of Peddle My Wheels,  presented the Southwark’s OurBike scheme by showing a video.


    Southwark OurBike scheme is part of a London Community Cargo Bike Share Scheme. The council subsidies Southwark’s offer via the High Street Recovery Scheme Fund. The bikes are based in East Dulwich, on Lordship Lane, where they are hosted by two local business who take responsibility for charging up the bikes and in return get branding. The scheme costs are funded through fees and subsidised by the council. 


    The scheme allows local businesses and residents to use their smartphone to reserve, lock and unlock an electric cargo bike to hire it by the hour. This gives people a sustainable, car free and affordable option when moving cargo around. The council is subsidising the cost of use so the first two hours per day are free and then £3 p/hr.

    Anyone wishing to use the scheme will get a free on boarding session, which includes how to unlock and lock the bike, and up to two hours of cargo bike riding training to help get them confident when using the bike.


    The most popular uses so far are for shopping, trips to the recycling centre, taking pets to the park, the school run, moving sports equipment and trips to the allotment.  The scheme can be accessed through:


    About 25% of people use the Cargo Bikes  regularly- often trades people ( electricians, personal trainers , dog walkers ) whereas residents often are more one off.  OurBike are continuing to leave introductory slots open for the end of the year and anticipate 100 members – they now have 70 members . Peddle My Wheels  estimate the carbon saved and are adding a tool to ask what people would have used as alternative transport.


    The chair invited questions and the following points were made:


    ·  Members asked how much it would cost to extend the scheme and the MD explained that Southwark does own the equipment. There are associated running costs (maintenance, app licences etc). The training session is approximately £60 per session for 5 people.


    ·  The users of the scheme are generally cyclists - though not cargo bike users .They sign up on the website so Peddle My Wheels have demographic data that can be shared. The barrier is often the cost of owning an electric Cargo Bike. Hiring can be a gateway to buying and there has been a growth in sales.


    ·  A barrier to access can be knowing that they exist; so  seeing children and dogs being carried out in the neighbourhood is a marketing tool. Peddle My Wheels  also do events in schools to promote the Cargo Bikes , and more events might help Peddle My Wheels understand other barrier. Members suggested Car Free day as a promotional opportunity and Maltby Street Market.


    ·  The scheme is aimed at both resident and business use.


    ·  The risk of stealing was discussed. The Peddle My Wheels MD said that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Streamlining renewable energy Planning applications

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    Tom Buttrick, Team Leader, Planning Policy, will present the enclosed briefing on streamlining renewable energy applications.

    Supporting documents:


    The chair introduced the item by explaining this is part of a mini review.  Tom Buttrick, a Team Leader from the council’s Planning Policy Team, was then invited to present the briefing that was circulated with the supplemental agenda, on streamlining domestic renewable energy planning applications.


    The following points were made in the subsequent discussion: 


    • The officer lead advised that the council offers a pre-application advice service for applications for domestic renewable energy, heat pumps and insulation applications, which is now free of charge. There is also improved guidance on the planning division website.  Officers will provide phone and email advice to applicants seeking pre-application advice. The officer undertook to provide clarification on how long this has been available free of charge.


    • There was a recent soft launch of ‘Find Out If You Need Planning Permission’ service, which is a digital tool on the planning division website.  It has also launched in Lambeth and Buckinghamshire


    • The commission heard that officers have recently focused on improving the initial application process for renewable energy systems, however there is an intention to look at this in the round, and the officer drew members attention to further work set out under point 26 in the report; particularly work with the council’s Climate Change Team.  He advised that there is an updated climate emergency action plan going to cabinet next week.


    • Members commented that they had received feedback from residents saying it is difficult to apply for solar panels to be installed, and yet this is something the council want residents to do. The officer acknowledged feedback received from councillors and that officers have been taking account of this. Members asked if more formal feedback from residents on the application process has been sought, and data collated on the number of people applying for a ‘lawful development certificate’. In response the officer said this type of feedback had not yet been sought from applicants, however it could well be a useful exercise, but would require officer capacity. He estimated that there are about 50 applications per year that could include renewables, and the service could potentially contact neighbouring boroughs to ask for comparable figures. He added that the recent changes made to the planning process are designed to make it easier to make an application for renewable energy installations, and that the ‘Find Out If You Need Planning Permission’ service has undergone user testing.


    • Members sought clarification that the ‘Find Out If You Need Planning Permission’ service and planning advice service are able to identify if an applicant needs to apply planning permission or if this is permitted development for a renewable energy installation, and the officer responded that taken together they would.  Members asked why the outcome would be either ‘planning permission required’ or a recommendation to apply for a ‘permitted development certificate’, given the cost. The officer explained this was to provide assurance that the development was lawful, for example if a property was to be sold and the seller needed confirmation



Work Programme

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    A Work Programme cover report, Work Programme and two scopes for proposed reviews on Climate Emergency Finance and Sustainable Freight are attached.

    Supporting documents:


    The commission discussed the Sustainable Freight review and agreed that it was absolutely right to ensure that the council addressed movement of its own goods as a priority. Members also agreed it would also be useful to understand more about the other sources of freight that move around the borough;  particularly larger businesses such as supermarkets, home delivery specialists and commercial freight, which supplies the high street.


    Members undertook to consider the community engagement part of the commission’s remit further.




    A briefing will be requested providing data and mapping on the source and destination of freight moving around the borough (e.g. what proportion is Amazon home delivery, supermarket shopping, commercial freight to business).